Category Archives: Writing as profession

on Having It All

I never wanted the accidental housewife to turn into an internet wasteland – who ever wants that for their little corner of the internet? But even though I firmly believe what’s online is real life, it turns out the bits of real life that are offline have a way of asserting themselves. My real life offline is demanding everything I’ve got, right now.

For those of you who feel like I just announced the birth of my daughter, let me update you to the sixteen-month-old spark that fills my hours, my senses, my mushy mum-brain:

And let me also announce the expected birth of my son, in March. The body is truly a terrifying and miraculous thing! Didn’t that womb, like, only just finish building a whole person???

Before I began my second baby, I spent the first half of last year writing the beginnings of a new book. The hero, Merryweather St Acre, turns up at the heroine’s door in one scene and she sees him thus: She had thought perhaps she’d invented or exaggerated his beauty. That the circumstances of their meeting had made her imagine that extra quality to him – the something naïve and ardent and easily broken. But there he stood, too close and without speaking, and he may as well have been the virginal unicorn in human form.

The virginal unicorn in human form. It also has the heroine murdering a man in cold blood, the hero ruining some cheap pornography in the throes of pleasure and lots about the tender horror of motherhood. It’s kind of a hot mess, and I think my agent might have cried a bit when she read it because I will obviously never write anything marketable.

But. Then motherhood visited a second time.

So this isn’t a mum-blog post, this is a writer-blog post. But it’s about being a mum, because the two have collided in my life, and I made the decision that being a mum wins this round. I decided this because being a writer really, really wanted to win, and all that did was make me feel bad about everything. 

A friend said to me recently, “In the scheme of things it’s not really that many years out of our lives.” She’s right. What’s 5, 6, 7 years in a whole lifetime? But it’s not just 5, 6, 7 years. It’s the difference between being 30 and having my first novel published, and being 38 with almost no work experience, and qualifications in a shrinking industry.

Before becoming a mum I had the vague impression that huge strides had been made into supporting women to be mothers and also have careers. Being a mum, I now know that to even begin to keep up you have to be motivated and organised. Two inadequate words to describe what it takes.

I also don’t think you can really know, until you’ve experienced it, how even though you are taking on half the work of your family life, somehow it’s the invisible half. And no matter how you tell yourself that what you do is important there is a subtle shift in the way your family relationships work.

This is the contradiction that bothers me. There’s an assumption that our babies are the best of us, our greatest achievements; and yet we are somehow diminished when we embrace motherhood fully. This is the risk I take in choosing motherhood: that it diminishes me. How sad that it’s not an easy, obvious choice to make. How especially stupid when it’s the hardest thing I have ever done, the steepest learning curve, forging something true and tough from whatever wibbly stuff I brought into my thirties with me.

I’ve spent a long time trying to write this post, and it’s this contradiction I keep bashing my head against. If I describe the deep sense of completeness and contentment that comes from holding my daughter while she curls an arm around my neck and pulls my hair in a short, gentle rhythm – I feel like I’m reinforcing the idea that she’s my greatest achievement. If I describe my frustration that being a mother necessitates me also becoming a dependant – I feel like I’m misrepresenting my situation as awful.

And at the heart of it is this inescapable biological difference. I don’t know how exactly motherhood would look in a truly equal society, but this isn’t it. When being a woman and wanting a child throws you into playing a certain role, this isn’t it.

I’m not removing myself from that inequality, either. Much as I dream of being a working, autonomous adult, when it comes down to it I’m not prepared to give up being the primary care-giver. I covet being the safe harbour in my daughter’s life. I covet the comfort only I can give, the intimacy we share that only hours upon hours upon years can create. I wouldn’t give up being the final word.


It’s an intense experience of living with compromise, making a good life out of unequal parts. There’s something about the physical nature of motherhood – the body used as an incubator, the labour of birth, the bovine lactation – that cannot be easily sorted into an equal or even a common experience between men and women. It’s the first truly immovable experience I’ve had – more complete than heartbreak.

It’s not really just one or the other, though: writer or mum. My decision has had a slow, positive, exciting effect. I’m not one of those mums who can suddenly do a day’s work in an hour, haha, no. But I never did get that second book out within a year of my first, so now it’s like – the pressure’s off. Now I have time to think again about the kinds of books I want to write and the kind of career I want to have. Now I have the experience to understand that overnight success in the American market doesn’t necessarily equal a fulfilling career. Things take time. I like being able to – having to – let things take time.

So really, all of this is to say, to any wonderful readers out there waiting for my next book: I’m so sorry. It’s going to be a long wait. And also, hopefully, it’s going to be worth it.



musical notes and brush strokes


Another teacher who contributed a huge amount to me while I was studying Professional Writing is Toni Jordan.

I was the only romance writer in my first year, and I had a very literary teacher. She didn’t understand what I was doing. I learned a huge amount from her, because she critiqued my writing like a piece of literary writing, but the experience almost snuffed out my voice completely.

Over the summer I went right back to why I write romance, and let myself be passionate and verbose. I also won a mentorship with Valerie Parv and started a complete rewrite of My Lady Untamed. Then I started second year, and Toni was my teacher. She got it. She understood romance convention. She was hugely encouraging, and it made all the difference in the world to have that support.

She is a wonderful teacher. She has made it her business to understand any genre a student might write in. She also doesn’t pull her punches. I remember one note on a chapter I’d workshopped that just said, This line is appalling! (And to be fair, it had a metaphor about a deep, subterranean cave of unshed tears.)

I am delighted to have her on the blog.



Some days, when I head off to take my class, teaching seems like the worst idea in the world. I’m always rushing, always late. My dog gives me a foul look. God knows what you do outside all day, and who you’re sniffing. And, worst of all, my own work sits there on the screen, curser flashing, characters sitting around moping and waiting for me to come back and tell them what to do.

Five minutes into the class, however, that’s all forgotten. It’s not just because of the students, most of whom are wonderful (but few of whom are as wonderful as Anna). It’s because I believe in teaching creative writing.

Creative writing classes sometimes get bad press, I know. Teachers and students are characterised as overprivileged dilettantes oversharing their thinly veiled memoirs while they bang on about why the publishing world is blind to their genius. That’s just not been my experience. Mostly I feel blessed to be surrounded by a roomful of people of varying ages and backgrounds and cultures, all of whom are united by a simple love of words and stories. And I love watching their writing improve over the year.

I believe that there are two distinct skills involved in fiction writing: the ‘art’, and the ‘craft’. Let me be clear: I have no idea where the ‘art’ part comes from, or how to control it, or how to make it better. If I did, I would be better able to control my own process and I’d be a much better novelist. I would have won the Miles Franklin by now. I have no idea how to teach where characters come from or how to make readers care about them or where ideas come from or what makes a novel change someone’s world or how does someone come up with the idea to put the duke in a frock. The ‘art’ in a symphony or in a painting–in my view, this can’t be taught.

What can be taught is musical notes and brush strokes. This is the ‘craft’ part. What I can teach is how good dialogue works, why some plots are more fulfilling than others. I can try to teach someone why one sentence is beautiful and another isn’t (although a surprising number of people can’t feel this) and why one sentence is good while another is bad, and how a sentence should function. I can introduce emerging writers to wonderful authors they’ve never read before. This is terribly important, because it’s only when you read something you deeply admire, something that moves you and makes you almost gasp, and then compare your own work beside it, that you can begin to understand how you need to improve. (The students I feel most sorry for are, in fact, the few who are haughtily dismissive of the genius examples I bring to class. They can’t see real beauty, and that’s why they are so overconfident in their own ability. This is classic Dunning–Kruger effect.)

Mostly, though, I love teaching creative writing because I know it improves the writing of students. I met Anna when I taught her in a class called Novel 2, in RMIT’s Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. Just a few years earlier, in 2005, I was a student in that same class. The manuscript I was working on started its life with the working title of The Woman Who Loved Numbers. I knew nothing about writing fiction when I enrolled in that course. My first degree was in science and I’d worked for seven years as a protein chemist before drifting into regularly affairs, and then sales and marketing. I’d enrolled with the intention of starting my own technical writing business, writing drug dossiers and new chemical entity search documents for pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms. I chose the novel subject as a bit of fun, a nod to my decades of voracious fiction reading.

The Woman Who Loved Numbers was published in Australia in 2008, under its new title, Addition. Since then, it’s been published in 16 countries and 12 languages, and the film script is at final draft stage (adapted by a clever and funny screenwriter in New York).

I’ve since written two other novels, and each one has been a thrill, but equally as exciting is when a student’s manuscript is published. When a student of mine has a book published–well, I feel fantastic. I ring my husband and meet him after work for a celebratory G&T. I imagine it’s a feeling not unlike parental pride. I can’t wait to raise a quiet glass to My Lady Untamed.

Note: every comment puts your name in the hat for an accidental housewife e-reader cover.

the cross-dressing duke lives!

So the big news this week is that I sold My Lady Untamed! After three years of writing and rewriting, 150,000 words scrapped and then more writing and rewriting, I’ve found a publisher who loves it just as much as I do.

At the beginning of the year my brother gave me the contact for a non-fiction editor at Penguin Australia – the wife of a barrister he shared chambers with. I went to talk to her about what it takes to get into the industry as an editor, but we ended up talking about what I was writing.

As soon as I told her I was writing romance, she called another editor in from down the hall. It was Sarah Fairhall, who was busy building Destiny Romance at the time, ahead of its launch in August. She was excited to meet me, because she’d been trying to explain to Marketing that young women read romance, too. She gave me her card and told me to send her my MS when it was done.

A month ago I’d finished another major draft. The five agents at the top of my list had all passed on my book, and I was waiting for another round of beta feedback before I did another set of edits and sent it to another round of agents.

I was feeling quite desperate about it all – feeling like no one would ever even see, or get it, and what on earth was I going to do next? So I sent it to Sarah, thinking at least she might feel obliged to give me some feedback.

She called me a week later, and made an offer for it. She said she and Carol, the editor, hadn’t stopped talking about it for days. I can’t even describe the feeling of having a publisher express their love of my book – and more than that, get my book.

I asked for a couple of weeks before I responded to the offer – which was pretty hard, when the offer was made on a Penguin Australia letterhead!

Destiny is a digital-first imprint, which means they publish e-books which may or may not be followed by a print edition – and it’s also based in the Australian market. That wasn’t what I’d imagined for MLU. 

I contacted another round of agents, letting them know there was an offer on the table, and asked their opinion on whether MLU had a chance in New York. The answer was the same across the board – too risky for New York, for a newbie author.

I felt like I had to go through that process, just to be sure I was doing the best for my book and my career, but I was pretty stoked that accepting the Destiny offer was my very best option. I had a long phone call with Sarah after I accepted their offer, and it left me feeling so excited about the whole process.

Especially after talking to people who saw the subversive elements as too risky for publication, it was great talking to Sarah who wants to celebrate how different my book is. E-publishing really is an exciting extension of the industry that allows a wider range of books to be published and is in a position to champion subversive literature.

Plus, their new offices are just down the road from my house! My book will be available internationally, but I gotta say, it’s exciting being able to just pop into the office for a chat with the editors, and to be near local media, ready to take part in the local press events Destiny organises.

It’s looking like the e-book will be out around April next year, and it’s likely MLU will get a print edition too, which would be so exciting.

I can’t believe this book is actually going to be done!

Feel free to ask me anything about the process. I ended up signing with an agent, too, which is its own whole thing, so I’ll post about that next.

the genesis of an idea

Just in case any of you don’t know of him, Heston Blumenthal is a mad-scientist chef. Or a gastrochemist. Or something. He’s amazing and inventive and there’s nothing he won’t try. (My favourite Heston moment was when he slow-cooked a whole pig in a hot-tub, because it was the only body of water large enough that could hold a consistent heat. He sort of looks up and realises what he’s doing and says, “I like to think of myself as a relatively normal bloke, by the way.”)

He filmed a series called Heston’s Feasts in which he cooks feasts that encapsulate a whole historical period. As part of his Victorian feast he wanted to serve Turtle Soup, which was a delicacy of the era.

The first step he takes is to go to America, to a turtle farm. He catches and kills a turtle then sticks it whole into a tub of water and boils it. That’s how the Victorians made Turtle Soup. He tries some of the meat, decides it’s a weird stringy texture, and cans the whole idea.

Next, he looks into Mock Turtle Soup, which was made from cow head and thus much cheaper and available to the aspirational classes. He follows a genuine Victorian recipe that gives him a rich broth. Much better.

He doesn’t stop there, though.

Because he’s trying to distill the whole Victorian age, he looks to Lewis Carroll for more inspiration. Mock Turtle Soup was so ubiquitous there was even a character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland called Mock Turtle (a turtle with a cow’s head). He distils the soup down, freezes it, clarifies it, freezes it even colder or something, and creates a fob watch from the stock. He covers it in gold leaf and attaches it to a string and a “Mad Hatter’s Tea” paper tab.

His guests brew this in a cup with hot water until it dissolves into a gorgeous golden broth, emulating the Mad Hatter dunking his fob watch in his tea.

He creates a fantasy wonderland in the bowl based around the idea of the mock turtle egg, which he makes from turnip mousse and swede jelly – two staple Victorian vegetables.

You know when you read those books that just feel thin? Watching Heston create something magical, it occurred to me: Those books are turtle boiled in water. “Thin” is what you get when an author has an idea – even a brilliant idea – and writes the first iteration of that idea.

I know there have always been certain books that are produced at a high rate, and certain authors who work fast – that in itself isn’t unique to the present publishing climate. But I do think current conditions encourage fast production. On the one hand there’s self-publishing, which for some authors means a far shorter production process, and on the other there’s the expectation for traditionally published authors to keep up with the demands of a media-consuming generation.

The thing is – ideas take time. Most authors, when pushed to it, can produce words fast. Ideas generate by building on each other and stewing in the subconscious and making new connections with other ideas.

Heston didn’t even use his first idea, even though he went all the way to America to investigate it. But the end product wouldn’t exist without it – it’s even referenced in the the layers of pressed fat in the tureen. That end product is so rich because every thought he passed through influenced his process, and can be seen in layers and obscure references. It is a rich, nuanced, thoughtful, delightful soup.

For me, it isn’t viable to spend three years on every book. That’s not the kind of career I want to have. But I also want to write excellent books, and it’s worth reminding myself that quality is worth standing up for.

The next romance series in my head is becoming an absolute epic. The working title for the series is Kings of Industry. I want it to be full of interesting side plots and characters that influence and tie in to the main story. I want the relationships in the main story to be complex and shocking and unexpected. I want the industry to reach through every aspect of English life and all the way out to newly opened Japan. I want the series arc to be gut-wrenching and intricate.

I can see just a glimmer of what I want it to be, and I know I’m not even close to ready to start the first chapter. If I tried to write it now, it would be a turtle boiled in water.

So what I’m playing with is the idea of finishing my young adult sci-fi series next – which I have put a year of ideas work into. A book every three years might not be viable, but there may be something in staggering books so that one is written while another gestates, until it’s ready to be written and I start working on the next new idea.

Thanks to Yahny in London for permission to use her gorgeous pics. You can read an account of her culinary experience at Heston’s restaurant here. And you can watch Heston put the final touches on the soup here.

let her eat cake

So I have been weirdly haphazard about sharing this news, but: I sold my first book! It’s a teen romance that will be published by Hardie Grant next year. I sold it on a pitch, so I’m working away at getting it written now.

Some of the reasons there haven’t been trumpets and confetti are:

1) it’s not a book I’ve spent years slaving and doubting and delighting over (and despairing that anyone will ever think it’s worth buying) so this isn’t the SUDDEN FULFILMENT OF YEARS OF ANXIOUS DREAMS;

2) I’ve been working in a professional way for six months now, so this feels like a continuation of that (not like “because I obviously totally deserve it” – just like, I’m working professionally and here’s some paid work);

3) it’s not in the genre I want to make my career in (historical romance), so it doesn’t feel like launching my career; and

4) “the call” (or in my case “the email-and-meeting”) really does just happen in an everyday sort of way – there are no actual trumpets – so it’s all too easy to just take it in stride.

All that being said – I am incredibly excited. I sometimes just think, “I’m being paid to write fiction!” and the world is a lovely place. No more awkward pause after the “Have you had anything published?” question. Also, Hardie Grant are a wonderful publisher, and the way they view the market and their books falls exactly into line with the kind of stuff I want to write. I’d gotten the impression the age of chivalry towards authors was dead, but my meeting with my editor is proof that it’s not.

And while in my numbered list above I was trying to be as honest as possible about my feelings, and might have come across as a little ungrateful…this is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream. I’m very clear about that.

I even managed to actually celebrate the occasion. Special k took me out for cake and tea, and put these photos directly up on facebook without me realising.

A proud husband is a good thing! (And it means cake.)

The book has no title yet, but it’s about a chick called Lexie who is vain, has impeccable manners and is determined to become an actress. Her family is forced to move to the country before she can finish year 12, and she thinks she’s going to die of anonymity until she finds out a reality show is being filmed about the local golden boy. She’s pretty desperate to get in on the action. Only problem is, the first day she met him she insulted him to his face…

the piracy question

Illegal downloading is a subject I’ve been wanting to write about for ages. It’s very murky – it’s emotional and ethical/unethical and no one has a clue how to start untangling it (or rather, everyone has an opinion about how to start). But it’s an important topic.

David Lowery, a musician and lecturer in economics, wrote a public letter on Monday to an intern at NPR (national public radio). She had written on NPR’s music blog: “I honestly don’t think my peers and I will ever pay for albums.” In his letter Lowery breaks down some of the misconceptions about file-sharing and actively calls on our generation to think about the ethics of our actions.

His letter is passionate and articulate, but there were a couple of key points that I felt he either didn’t address, or which didn’t satisfy me. I want to outline them here in full knowledge that they’re not definitive answers to the digital media conundrum – but that I would like to begin challenging, discussing and rethinking them.

1) Consumers are not philanthropists.

There’s an image of the artist that pervades Lowery’s letter – the poor, struggling artist. He gives anecdotes of the ways artists have suffered – deeply – from losing their income. It’s tragic, the way thousands of people losing their jobs when a factory closes is tragic. But I don’t know that playing on peoples’ pity will change consumer choices – not on a scale large enough to affect the market.

He ends his letter with a call to action to donate money to various charities that help artists. That seems really odd to me.

On the one hand, yes, artists need a lot of financial help, and anyone who’s prepared to give it – thank you!

But artists who are serious about making money from what they do – the artists who would suffer from losing their livelihoods – are not charity cases. They’re business people. (Serious question: do business people in other industries also have access to charities?)

So: consumers are not philanthropists – and artists are not charity cases.

2) Artists are business people.

Lowery talks about the hidden costs of file-sharing. He points out that you might be able to download stuff for free, but the money is being exchanged somewhere. Internet providers get your money, the people who own the file-sharing sites get your money and the people who advertise (as well as the people who sell them the advertising) get your money.

So people are definitely making money off this – large corporations, mostly, not artists.

What Lowery fails to point out is: PEOPLE ARE DEFINITELY MAKING MONEY OFF THIS. There’s income to be made. Artists and artistic studios/companies/organisations just haven’t figured out how to get a piece of it yet.

3) Digital objects don’t have the same value as physical objects.

This is confounding, because just as much love and labour goes into, for example, an ebook as a paper book. It is the same object. But the simple fact that you can’t hold it devalues it in a consumer’s eyes. The simple fact that you can jump on the internet and have it almost right away devalues it. Probably it shouldn’t. But the fact is that it does.

I suspect bemoaning this undervaluing isn’t going to change what’s happening. Artists can’t browbeat their consumers into sharing their views – consumers feel the way they feel, irrational or not (and hasn’t consumer desire always been irrational?). I can only assume value has to be found elsewhere for digital objects, like Amazon have done with the Kindle.

We see this in other markets where a product is intangible. Public transport systems have to police commuters. Cinemas have been redesigned to have one door in, and one door out. And they charge $12 for a bucket of what is essentially the cheapest grain on earth and hot air. Notice, though, how people choose to buy popcorn? It’s all part of the experience and they don’t mind paying for it.

4) It’s not a matter of “not wanting to pay” – it’s a matter of lifestyle.

Lowery points out that consumers have already spent $1,000 on their laptop before they can get any “free” files. It’s kinda off-point, because no one buys a laptop just to illegally download stuff. (Okay. The world’s a big, populated place. Probably someone does.) They buy it because it’s one of the necessary lynchpins of their lifestyle.

No one denies that the internet has changed the way we conduct almost every daily transaction – so it makes sense that it also changes the lifestyle we expect. Actually, expect is the wrong word. It’s more like simple experience. We don’t question it. We rely on it, we breathe it. We know it’s there when we reach out.

TorrentFreak recently collated all their illegal download data and found Australia topped the Game of Thrones ranking. (The comments, by the way, are enlightening.) There’s this phenomenal tv show that every online community you belong to is talking about. Every day you see the images, hear spoilers. There’s buzz, because HBO wants you to watch it – so you want to watch it.

And you can.

The internet turns geographical restrictions into an abstract concept – because Game of Thrones isn’t on the other side of the world in America, it’s right here, where you are, at your fingertips. I should point out that it airs in Australia one week (I think) after its US airing, but only on Foxtel. I couldn’t find any exact figures on their website, but let’s say $50-$80 per month?

I was chatting with Jo Bourne on twitter about the geographical restrictions problem, and she said, “But isn’t there value in preserving local communities?” Well, yes. But just look who said that to me – Joanna Bourne, an American writer, who is part of my everyday community. Because of the internet.

Many of my localised communities are not geographical.

And yes: sharing files that don’t belong to you is an illegal act. There’s no getting around that. I can’t explain why our generation is taking to it anyway. It’s a full-blown ethical question, and I enjoyed how Lowery’s letter engaged with it. We have responsibilities to each other as human beings that are more complicated than just what we want right now.

But I do not see this trend reversing itself. And I want to make it very clear that when I say trend I don’t mean taking things illegally, I mean the systems people use to consume their media. This is also what I mean by lifestyle. Not some odious sense of privilege – but the day-to-day, lived experience of life. The way people consume media has changed – the market has changed.

Which isn’t to say artists won’t figure out how to make it profitable. I have every faith in human inventiveness.

Lowery shakes his head at a generation who doesn’t use their morality and principles to guide them through technological change, but rather lets technological change dictate their morality and principles. I’m researching the industrial revolution at the moment. Technology (which comes from people, not the Jules Verne nightmare Lowery points to) has always felt beyond us, pushing us into the future despite ourselves, from the first train engines – which were named after gods and dragons – to the internet.

But the wonderful thing about people is – just as quickly as technology changes on us, we change on it. We’re so adaptable – so ready to put what we have to good use.

Take Pioneer One, a crowd-funded tv show that’s released on the sites where people download their tv. The creative team fundraised enough for the first two episodes – and then relied on its fans wanting to see what happened next. It’s absolute proof that people aren’t scared to shell out. People want to contribute to the culture they belong to. The Nazi-spoof Iron Sky that was recently on at the cinema? Crowd-sourced.

I can only imagine the visceral rage artists feel seeing their hard work up on file-sharing sites. What downloaders are doing is illegal – but I don’t know that anyone’s going to change their minds. Those people artists rage against? They are the market. I said earlier that the value of a digital object has to be found elsewhere, and when it comes to ebooks I suspect the value is somewhere in community, tied to media systems that work with consumer habits.

I greatly respect Courtney Milan for blazing the way with self-publishing – but even more so for her generous approach to her community. In the back of her novella The Governess Affair she doesn’t sternly remind the reader that this is her property, she writes: Thanks for reading The Governess Affair! I hope you enjoyed it. Did you know you can lend this book? Please consider sharing it with a friend. And: Where such permission is sufficient, the author grants the right to strip any DRM which may be applied to this work.

Here’s what I’m facing: All things going well, people will be pirating my books in the next couple of years. That’s going to be my reality.

It’s natural to expect that when that happens my neat little aphorisms about “lifestyle” and “philanthropy” will be chucked to the wayside while I chase down my titles and remove them from illegal download sites.

Right now – I don’t want that to happen. I want to put my money where my mouth is. I believe there’s a market out there – bigger than there’s ever been – it’s just a new market, and no one quite knows how to access it yet.

I’m a writer, not a marketer. I don’t know how to look at this mess and create something from it. But then, three months ago I didn’t know how to write a business plan, either. Actually, it was worse than that. I was sure I couldn’t write one. I was so confronted by trying to do it, when I had no clue how to even begin, that I felt physically sick. But I kept at it, and now I have one – and boy is that a useful document!

So I’m going to approach this whole new-market thing the same way. Something I can’t do. A lot of hard work. Necessary, if I want to make it. As Philip Pullman writes*:

You don’t win races by wishing, you win them by running faster than everyone else. And to do that you have to strive your utmost, and sometimes even that isn’t enough, because another runner just might be more talented than you are. Here’s the truth: If you want something, you can have it, but only if you want everything that goes with it, including all the hard work and despair, and only if you’re willing to risk failure.

* from Clockwork